Inhibition of soluble and microsomal epoxide hydrolase by zinc and other metals

Alison J. Draper, Bruce D. Hammock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Inhibition of xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes by metals may represent an important mechanism in regulating enzyme activity. Fourteen cations were evaluated for inhibition of microsomal epoxide hydrolase (mEH) (mouse, rat, and human liver), soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) (mouse, rat, and human liver), and recombinant potato sEH. Of the metals tested, Hg2+ and Zn2+ were the strongest inhibitors of mEH, while Cd2+ and Cu2+ were also strong inhibitors of sEH (I50 for all ~20 μM). Nickel (divalent) and Pb2+ were moderate inhibitors, but Al2+, Ba2+, Ca2+, Co2+, Fe2+, Fe3+, Mg2+, and Mn2+ were weak inhibitors of both mEH and SEH (less than 50 % inhibition by 1 mM metal). Six anions (acetate, bromide, chloride, nitrate, perchlorate, and sulfate) were tested and found to have no effect on the inhibition of sEH or mEH by cations. The kinetics and type of inhibition for zinc inhibition of sEH and mEH were examined for mouse, rat, human, and potato. Zinc inhibits mEH in a competitive manner. Inhibition of human and potato sEH was noncompetitive, but interestingly, zinc inhibition of mouse sEH was very strong and uncompetitive. Inhibition by zinc could be reversed by adding EDTA to the incubation buffer. Additionally, mouse liver microsomes and cytosol were incubated with these chelators. Following incubation at 4°C, samples were dialyzed to remove chelator. Both mEH and sEH activity recovered was greater in samples treated with chelator than in control incubations. Similar treatment with the protease inhibitor Nα-p-tosyl-L- lysine chloromethyl ketone (TLCK) did not affect enzyme activity recovered. During systemic inflammation, hepatic metallothionien is induced, and liver metal concentrations increase while serum metal concentrations are decreased. The inhibition of microsomal and soluble epoxide hydrolase by metals may represent a mechanism of down-regulation of enzyme activity during inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-32
Number of pages7
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • Epoxide hydrolase
  • Metals
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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